MasterChef USA vs Australia: Is Gordon better than Preston?

So last week, MasterChef US finally launched on Fox television, hot on the heels of our own record-setting Australian franchise. And it was a fascinating look to see how the show recreated itself in an American mould, with Gordon Ramsay as the main draw. It’s fascinating for both its similarities and differences.

The biggest alteration is that the US version is only a weekly show that I’ve heard will run a dozen or so weeks, rather than the six-day-a-week onslaught of the Australian version. And given the tight timeframe for so much activity, there’s heaps of editing, and packing comments into sound bites to fit everything into neat one-hour weekly episodes. That’s a bit of a shame – it makes the drama feel sudden, brief and staged. Unlike the Australian show, it doesn’t allows enough time for viewers to get to really know the contestants, empathise with them and get involved in their daily lives. Instead, it’s a bit too wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am standard reality TV. The good news? I don’t have to be glued to the TV every night.

The choice of judges are clever, however. Ramsay was the no-brainer choice, given his strong following in the US and his TV savvy – and let’s face it, he’s guaranteed to produce fireworks. He’s joined by Joe Bastianich, a fantastic choice who’s the business brains behind Mario Batali’s ever-growing restaurant empire, whose dozen eateries include New York City’s Babbo, Lupa, Del Posto, Casa Mono and LA’s Osteria Mozza. Bastianich is intelligent, formidable and critical, but without a hint of the sensational that occasionally pops up with Ramsay. It’s also notable to mention that Bastianich is a restaurateur joined by two celeb chefs as co-judges, so there’s no direct replacement for the critic’s shoes – or should that be critic’s cravat? – of Matt Preston.

The yet-unproven selection is Graham Elliot Bowles, who entered America’s celeb chef ranks at age 27 (he’s now 33) after he received four stars by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine during his time as chef at Avenues at the Peninsula Chicago. Most of the PR spin glosses over the fact that Bowles’ move to his own, dressed-down ‘bistronomic’ restaurant (sounds a bit like glorified ‘gastropub’), called Graham Elliot, received a more earthly two stars by the Tribune. Bowles, a very big man in Alvin Quah-like white glasses, was fun to watch on Top Chef Masters as he jostled and joked with WD-50’s Wylie Dufresne, but on MasterChef he’s the least audible judge and seems to be overwhelmed by his more-experienced counterparts. One can only hope that he gains more confidence as time goes by, and he does begin to get slightly more vocal and defiant by the second episode, which aired the other night. Mostly though, he’s currently just the jovial and gentle fat guy who exerts what, to his fellow judges, seems to be occasional lapses in judgement. This is TV, however, and who knows what’s been left on the busy editing floor.

What makes the show entertaining from an Australian perspective is its only-in-America moments. As expected from a US reality show, there are the stereotypical, cringe-worthy moments: fist pumping, high-fiving, unearned bravado, some crazy-ass head moves and try-hard questions like “Are you gonna bring it?” I was almost feeling like a self-loathing American (I’m a native New Yorker turned Sydney boy) until I got to watch some of the delightful characters. My favourite is Avery, an African-American cook from Louisiana, who when tasting her Cajun specialties utters phrases like, “Mmmm. Slap your momma!” and “Makes your tongue slap your brain.” She presented her catfish Arcadia over angel-hair pasta in white gloves and a genteel, “I pray that this is pleasing to your palates.” That said, she doesn’t seem the type to make it to the finish line, with the kind of presentation-challenged, brown food that New Orleans cuisine regularly produces – and I say that from a position of loving Cajun and Creole food. “I hope it tastes better than it looks,” Gordon says before diving in.

It’s immediately obvious that the US will not be as kind and supportive at the Australian version; neither good or bad, but distinctly different and more cutting. Ramsay, as expected, is the most frequent attack dog. “That’s the most disgusting soup I’ve ever tasted in my life,” he spews about a dodgy looking beer cheese soup. When critiquing a yucca-encrusted snapper by a contestant who hypes her love for dating chefs, he admonishes: “My advice? Continue dating chefs because you’re never going to be one.” Ouch.

A good deal of the show is a duplicate of MasterChef Australia, which can make it feel cliché at times. Cooking food for the military. Check. Chopping onions to whittle the field. Check. Even the tryouts are similar. From my own experience as a contestant in the season one tryouts in Melbourne, I noticed the typical bollocking from the chefs to the contestants in feigned frustration that no-one is making the grade. Then there’s the contestant selected by the producers to be the comedy act for the camera, this time in the form of Suzette, a supposed former pro soccer player for Brazil (but with an obvious American accent), who shows a bit of flesh and flirts heavily with Ramsay. “I was a forward. If you were a back, I’d take you on.” And forget about thinking that Australians are soft – the Yanks cry just as much as their counterparts.

Oh, and like the molecular dude from MasterChef Australia’s first season, Aaron, there’s also the guy you love to hate. Here it’s David Miller from Boston, a software engineer who runs around manic like he’s strung out on smack, shouts out ‘blam!’ while cooking as if he’s Emeril Lagasse’s retarded brother, revels about being overconfident, and laughs a mock hyena laugh. For his audition, he cooks a New England-style bouillabaisse, and pronounces words like “Provence,” and “crouton” with an exaggerated ‘r’ that should require a sick bag. Yes, I despise him already.

It’s times like these that it’s a pleasure to have Ramsay on the show, who goes straight for the jugular. “Are you acting, or are you trying to be normal?” he taunts, then points out it takes two days to make a perfect bouillabaisse. He also takes on Miller’s French pronunciations by engaging him in French, which the engineer expectedly can’t understand. The smackdown continues as Ramsay berates Miller’s ill-gotten confidence. “When you’re good at something, it creates confidence. When you’re insecure about something it creates an arrogance,” Ramsay fumes. “Arrogant chefs are like blondes in Hollywood.” The end result sees Miller bawling in front of the trio, which gains enough sympathy from the judges to give him a MasterChef apron. Upon exiting, he instantly reverts from sobbing to screaming wildly like he’s just won the Super Bowl. I hate him more, and I’m certain the producers wanted me to feel that way, just so I’ll keep watching, eager to see him go down in flames.

Early word is that the critics have regularly panned the show, but that’s not really important to the producers. What’s truly important is ratings, and so far MasterChef US has garnered strong viewer numbers: 6 million watched the debut. That’s way more than Australia’s 2 million average, but less successful if you consider population sizes. Even so, no-one in their right mind would expect a repeat of the show’s Australian dominance – the American market is far too saturated with entertainment options.

So will I keep watching the show? Definitely. Will I enjoy it? Yes, but I don’t expect it to captivate me the same way as the Australian show. It was clearly going to be hard to get a US network to commit to programming six days a week, but the result is that US MasterChef feels merely like mindless entertainment. That’s a far cry from MasterChef Australia, which to those of us who watched religiously, was not only more educational but also felt more like an extension of the family.

54 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on February 4, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Masterchef AU is way better, but the discussion doesn’t make any sense. Matt is not a chef.


  2. I was hooked on Masterchef Australia when we lived in Africa for 4yrs. I would LOVE to see it be available in the U.S. The version here is nothing compared to Aus. The judges are the key. They are great! Ramsey is rude, crude and I guess they have decided that’s what we want to see in this Country. It was so distasteful to me that I don’t even watch it. Too bad for us here in the U.S. However, I found the Australia version on Utube. Yay!


  3. Posted by Name on February 15, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    What I really like about MCAus is how the competitors really develop friendships and wish each other well. They help each other out, while MC US is full of snide comments and attempts to harm others to boost themselves up. It comes down to the culture that the show and the chefs create. Are you aiming for a show to help others blossom, or to create drama for TV? Obvious answers from each show.

    The last season of MC US (I just watched the final 5 or 6 episodes), the final four had to work in pairs, and neither team could work well together, not even Courtney’s team, where she had the advantage in being able to PICK her partner.. still couldn’t work well together at all; it was fighting the whole way. That’s a huge failing, and it’s the show that set them up for failure like that. Bad environment and culture leads to fighting. Well, I guess it makes for dramatic TV, and that raises viewership in the US, right? I think the most annoying was how the judges kept saying it’s the “biggest culinary competition in the world” or the “most important in the world”. What bravado. I’m not going to bother watching any of the other seasons.

    I’ve watched all the seasons of MC Aus, and will continue to watch new ones. I guess that shows something.


  4. Posted by sheeba pillai on December 15, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Masterchef USA is a joke !Why put the contestants through so much stress ?Why didnt they just give the money to Courtney instead ?It was so sad to watch it because it was so unfair & sickening .On the other hand Masterchef Australia is fantastic – a treat to watch .the judges are kind , fair & so nice to the contestants .I felt so sad for Elizabeth because once the judges saw Courney & met her they had already made their decision at the very beginning itself .


  5. Posted by Baffy on November 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Please don’t bother watching the US version. It is beyond disgusting. I wonder if the american TV realizes it makes the whole country look like it’s filled with egotistic morons who are high on bad attitude and drama(which is not the case I must point out and I’m not american or australian). It makes me think the tv producers are cashing in on the typical american stereotypes. Ugh! Ramsay should be ashamed to be a part of it really. He’s above this crap. As for Joe, he is just plain horrible.


  6. Posted by Anonymous on July 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

    wow, the australia one is so full of support, constructive criticism, everyone supports eachother in almost every way and it is an emotional roller coaster. there are masterclasses, you see them learn and you learn things yourself. its absolutely AWESOME. the american one just leaves me disappointed with all of the immaturity, bullies, meanness… its amazing the difference. the narrator reminds me of big brother. its such a shame because it doesnt even come close to being as good as the australian one.


  7. Agreed on all above. I discovered Masterchef Australia after Masterchef US was launched, and Masterchef US loses badly in the comparison. The Australian show leaves me with the possibilities of success, the US version revels in failure.


  8. Posted by Michael on June 23, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Masterchef Australia is still in its 4th season superior in all aspects to MC USA , where the focus un MC AUS is really more on support and cooking great food with great flavors , i do love how deep the actual cooking and explaining of the recipes is executed in MC AUS , whereas in MC USA it seems more important to make people feel bad and stomping on their dishes (which you dont really actually see prepared in too much depth)……i love Ramsay dont get me wrong but Preston and his boys whoop are highly elevated with their show above their US counterpart, cheers


    • Posted by xetaprime on June 24, 2012 at 7:49 pm

      Agreed! Love Ramsey too bust as you say he doesn’t compare. It’s frustrating because I do want to watch MC US but am resisting. Grrrrr….


  9. OY! So, sadly, Masterchef US has started here. Masterchefs UK, AU and NZ have spoiled me. I resisted watching our version. I turned it off as the credits rolled then watched it later online. It shouldn’t be called Masterchef. Maybe Masterloon, Masterclownchef? Ego manaiacs and celebrity junkies the lot. It’s not so much about the food as it is about slush tv sigh. I love watching Kitchen Nighmares because at it’s core it’s about righting wrong and better food. It’s not about showing up with a pet monkey. Even Biggest Loser AU outshines US… That’s my morning rant. Best, Xeta


  10. Posted by marc on June 7, 2012 at 5:52 am

    no doubt. australia kicks ass


  11. I still remember there was that episode when Gary made a horrible comment on someone’s food and when (I think Danni or Eli ) were in tears he actually tried to console them.. asking them to believe in themselves.. (Season 3).. Makes for healthier competition!


  12. I agree with most comments here. MasterChef Australia is a class apart from Masterchef USA. The contestants compete in the right spirit and the show is more about food and cooking rather than all the manufactured drama in Masterchef USA. Can’t stand the contestants one bit and the judges just put me off!!


  13. After watching countless episodes of all Masterchef I still think the US version is more of a joke. The contestants border on stupid. I want to like it, I do. But these people Masterchefs? Even Junior Masterchef out cranks the adults in the US version. Those kids can cook!


    • Posted by Tuire on January 5, 2013 at 9:28 am

      We just saw MCUSA season 1 here in Finland, and I am trying to find some info on it here, is the contest a joke? Compared to the Australian version these cooks are horrible! If any of the contestants cooked stuff like that in the show in Aus they’d go straight home, but in the US version there’s a whole group of lousy cooks – seriously, out of thousands of applicants, out of millions of Americans, those are the best they’ve got??? that doesn’t seem right. (One had never tasted pomegranate, one didn’t recongnize starfruit, one tortured a live crabfish etc etc etc!) I mean, really??!

      Xetaprime was the only one to talk about this with me, didn’t others see this a bit odd?

      Greetings from Finland – we have less than 6million inhabitants, and even our Masterchefs can cook better than those in the US… 😉


      • Happy New Year Tuire ,

        (sigh) I wish we could make this thread visible to the US production. Just watching MC the Professionals or MC Ireland- again, the US, and I am in the US- are dweebs. No, they aren’t serious chefs like in other countries. Love Michel Roux Jr and Monica Galetti! (sigh) makes me ashamed of American TV!

        Greetings back to ya! From one who appreciates the ‘art’ of cooking!

        Best Xeta

  14. we all like matt preston he has a class the contestants and the receipies were great


  15. definitely australian masterchef the judges are great and the receipies and ingredients are classier than u s master chef but but gordon ramsay is a good judge


  16. I agree with all of you the Australian version was great the hosts were kind & they were always trying to help the competitors on the other hand the us version is not that good.


    • those master chef australias contestants and judges were classy the receipies were great judges gary george matt r great and very classy u .s version is a crab but gordon ramsay is good even though he swears he is a good judge compare to other two


  17. Posted by sai on November 30, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    nop matt and australia is the best…mc us sucks


  18. Posted by Anonymous on October 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I have watched both versions of Masterchef and I don’t think that it is a contest between the Australian and USA version. The Australian chef/hosts are so much kinder and eager to teach the amateur cooks, whereas their American counterparts are so stuck on shooting down the would be chefs. I’ve watched the Australian competitors flourish under encouragement and training, whereas the US challengers don’t get the same opportunities to be taught and instructed. The US chefs are just meaner and so worried about out criticizing each other that I can’t see myself watching this show in the future.


  19. I agree with many posts here. I am watching MCUSA but can barely stomach it after watching MCAU. No comparison! The US version is just awful. Thanx to the internet I’ve watched all of AU’s MC and love it! Thank you Australia! It also inspired me to buy a new hand mixer/chopper! Can’t wait to get cooking!


  20. Posted by Blima on August 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I hate master chef us the Australia version has class. Its so much better every aspect.
    the us is a bunch of arrogant men and women cursing their heads off.
    I also like that:
    The Australia version has a masterclass and you can actually learn something.
    You get involved and learn about the contestants actual lives and dreams.
    They have an amazing site and you can use the recipes
    They have amazing guest Judges.


  21. Posted by Anonymous on July 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    MasterChef Australia is as boring as faecal matter. Evert time I hear one of those camera whores say, “Ooh, I love rewards, but it’s always sad knowing someone is going home”… or “I’m here to cook from the heart…” or some other recycled sound bit, it makes me want to barf.

    I prefer MasterChef US because they’re blunt and they’re honest. I’d much rather hear someone tell a contestant that their dish was disgusting, rather than something like “That dish doesn’t really work, does it?!”


  22. As someone from here in the US, I have to say I greatly prefer Masterchef Australia to the US version. I never did catch season 1 or 2 of the Australia version, but started with Junior Masterchef Australia and am currently following Season 3, daily (well, 6 days a week). Thankfully I’m able to watch these shortly after they air thanks to the internet.

    Masterchef Australia is a HUGE breath of fresh air compared to the US version. I wish the US version was more like the Australia version, but unfortunately it’s not… in the US, 98+% of TV viewers don’t have the attention span or will to follow something 6 days a week. What I like about the Australia version is that you actually get to know the contestants a bit, the focus is actually on cooking and you even get to learn a bit thanks to the MasterClass episodes. Also in the Australia version there doesn’t appear to be any kind of manufactured drama. What happens, happens. There’s no real trash talking and everyone is actually very supportive and gracious to each other instead of being prodded by producers to be at each others throats to generate drama. In the end you end up feeling a real connection to these contestants and are really sad one of them ends up having to go.

    Once season 3 is over for Australia, I’ll be digging around on the internet and looking for seasons 1 & 2 to watch.


    • Mark, I couldn’t have said it better myself. The Australian show is so vastly superior and, relatively, real. And next week I get the best of both worlds: Australian MasterChef in my hometown of New York.


  23. Posted by Max Soul on April 23, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Miller was by far the best contestant and he had my voice from the start. A true underdog, with assholes like the writer of this article wishing him to fail at every turn, and him staying in the game and going the distance against all odds. “Go down in flames”? Ha! Yeah right. I’m glad he proved the wannabe critic of this article wrong. I hope he was fuming with anger as he was seeing Miller winning and winning and winning! lol


    • I’ve got to say, that Miller actually turned halfway normal over the course of the show, but I’d only seen his debut at the beginning of the series when I wrote the post. In the tryouts, he was completely manic and over-the-top in the first episode, and, in retrospect, simply being a hyperactive dick because he thought it was going to help him get more attention from the cameras. Mission accomplished. That the guy could actually cook and act half-normal was a surprise to lots of folks as the series went on – even Ramsay seemed surprised. That said, I think the US series has a long way to go before it gets half the credibility of its Australian counterpart, or even the UK version. It’s all drama, and starving of substance.


  24. Posted by raymond Doctor on March 3, 2011 at 2:02 am

    Masterchef USA is a pale and insipid soup compared to the hot chili of Masterchef Australia. Nothing to learn, no great chefs invited (I’m sure the UYS has quite a few or are there only three!!!).
    Sorry guys, no suspense, no fun. I gave up on it .Even the finale was no fun. Let’s hope Matt Preston spices it up.


  25. Posted by meenu on February 27, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I thought Masterchef India was bad and then came Masterchef USA. Whatever be the flaws of the Australian version, I recognise now how vastly superior it is to the American one. I feel nothing for any of the contestants and I had enough of the Simon Cowells to find Gordon Ramsay anything other than boring. What I loved about Masterchef Australia was the healthy respectful rivalry and the focus on the food rather than on the drama. The judges were also not shouting at the contestants at the drop of a hat or playing “Good Cop/Bad Cop”.
    In Masterchef USA, the contestants come off as types rather than flesh n blood individuals. Anyway, at least the torture will be shorter considering it was a weekly originally!


  26. Posted by NUPUR SHANKAR on February 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    The series (Masterchef USA) is now airing in India and everything seemed to be happening too fast. Only after reading this I realized it is a weekly show that is being shown 4 nights a week in India. This has resulted in not getting to know the contestants, and there’s no sense in involvement in the show. I loved the Masterchef Australia series esp. the master class and the interactions with celebrity chefs, cooking in various cities, etc. I’m truly disappointed by the US series. And finally what’s with the constant swearing by all the participants?!!


  27. Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    i just hate masterchef usa.its full of arrogant chefs,lot of f words instead of cooking.its really pathetic.


  28. Posted by Sandhya on February 25, 2011 at 2:25 am

    Gordon Ramsay is a formidable personality for obvious reasons but it would have been nicer had he been less of a jerk trampling over the contestants feelings. i prefer MC Australia where the focus was more on cooking and food rather than all the drama and mericless judges.


  29. Posted by Lana on January 29, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    that’s actually true!! i do love the australian version more, i think the fact that it doesnt really reveal the contestant life much but it focus more on the cooking which is the main point, so there’s no bias whatsoever


  30. Hi ‘Gal’. The Australian show is relatively straightforward. When it comes to the Mystery Box Challenge, you’re always creating your own recipe from scratch using the ingredients available. Then there’s the Pressure Test, which is often a matter of following a supplied recipe, although there have been deviations where contestants have to recreate a dish simply based on tasting it. The Chef’s Challenge is almost exclusively using the participating chef’s recipe. Off-site challenges have also been split between devising original menus to following difficult recipe tasks. And finally there are the Elimination Challenges, which can be anything from guessing ingredients that comprise a dish, quickly creating a meal or following a wider brief with room to improvise.

    So I can’t say that I have a formal tally, but it seems to me that there’s a fairly even split between following recipes to the letter (and in a time-efficient manner) and creating dishes from scratch, with a possible tilt to the latter. That would make sense, since any home cook can follow directions, but what makes a true chef is being able to cook something great out of what’s available, without a single recipe in sight. Many challenges won’t require ratios, but I’m positive that those contestants who have ratios in their knowledge base, as well as those who soak up ratios and new techniques as they go, have a distinct advantage.

    Hope that helps at least a little bit. I’ve asked a few MasterChef folks to also respond, but they’re busy folks, so there’s no guarantee I’ll get an answer.


  31. Posted by Gal from California on November 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I’ve just submitted an audition tape for the USA Season 2 show. I don’t get TV reception so had to watch the US, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, and India versions via YouTube. I like Ramsey & Bastianich a lot but the US version is definitely dumbed down a bit. I truly appreciated how nice the judges and contestants were with one another with the Australian & NZ versions – you would NEVER see that in the US, instead you’d see nasty comments and sabotage. But have to say, the Pressure Tests and Chef Cook-offs for the Aussie version were ridiculous – an amateur home chef is supposed to cook a weird, silly dish as well as or even better than a chef with 4 Michelin stars and has had 20 yrs to perfect their dish??? How does that make sense? And most of the guest chef dishes were ridiculous looking. I’d be angry going to 4-star restaurant, spending $300 and receiving chicken paste that looks like a banana. Yes, it’s art but edible? No thanks. But I wrote notes on the challenges for every show and there is really very little similarity in any of the show versions, even though MasterChef is a franchise and they should be similar. What I would like to know is how many dishes have to be created or ingredient ratios memorized vs. printed recipes supplied? (this applies especially for the US version)


  32. It’s seriously EXTREME MASTERCHEF! or at least MasterChef on steroids! We have been downloading the episodes. I still prefer the Australian MC!


    • It kind of reminds me of The Jetsons, where instead of eating the whole, fresh-cooked meal, you simple swallow a single pill. It’s compact and efficient, but lacks all of the enjoyment of the full process.


  33. Posted by Pat on September 1, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    I just finished watching both Masterchef Australia seasons and am starting on Masterchef US now and honestly I prefer the Aussie version. I like the judges better, the people seem more authentic, it seems less scripted. Of course there must be some scripting too but they either pulled it off better or just didn’t exaggerate it as much as the US version did.

    I’ll keep watching it no doubt, if just for the pure comedy factor – and will keep hoping that I see some interesting dishes being plated up. So far it’s been really mediocre 😦


    • I agree. In fact, it’s much easier to follow the cooking action in the US show Top Chef, than it is on MasterChef US, and the cooking talent is really at a lower level overall. I don’t mind the American version, but it remains a pale comparison to the Australian show.


    • I have to say that I prefer the Australian Masterchef to the United States version. The US version seems staged and based on entertaining the viewers rather than truly finding the best amateur chef. I hope I don’t spoil this for you guys, but I’ve watched the entire season and are extremely disappointed with the outcome. I am a big Ramsay fan, but his performance in this ‘reality’ show left a bad taste in my mouth – excuse the pun. I got the distinct impression that he called the shots and that the other judges’ opinions didn’t count much. I’m convinced that he already decided who the winner will be and if you watch the final four episodes, it should be evident. Masterchef Australia also gave the opportunity to contestants previously eliminated to rejoin the competition. That ensures that the ultimate winner, really deserve the title. There was also no real emphasis on the recipe book (part of the prize) in the US version of the show. What is the theme? What type of recipes would it contain? I would think that it should be an important bit of information and that it would help with the marketing thereof. Ultimately, I was disappointed. I would rather watch Masterchef Australia.


  34. Love your commentary on this post! We Australians love those contestants who are the underdogs, those that have humble attitudes and are much more self deprecating than self promoting. A bit of a stereotype here but I imagine the American contestants would be lauded for their aggresive winner’s attitudes. I’d love to watch it, not sure how much I’d enjoy it though.


  35. Posted by Ryo on August 13, 2010 at 10:16 pm

    Mmm I to am not up for said conspiracy theories… yet lets not forget that a contestants ability to cook is only part of what makes them the next masterchef – personality also has alot to do with it.

    I have yet to watch season 2 of Aussie Masterchef (living in England it takes us over a year to recieve it over here) yet in season 1 it was very apparent that Julie DID fit the mold of what it meant to be Masterchef. I honestly think that Justine cooked her under the table and that Julie had an incredibly poor week leading to the final (if it hadnt been from some stinkers from Julia and Lucas she arguably would have left sooner). Yet I digress, any of the final five of season 1 would have made spectacular Masterchefs and it was definately FAR more interesting than the boring and bland English version.

    I see what you mean about condensing down the episodes and that time restraints mean that MOST of the competition is what happens off camera. I just hope that the US version of the show can stand on its own two feet and find its own origionality rather than ripping off the Aussie version completely.

    We shall see, I think that Gordon has the propensity to be an AMAZING judge.


  36. Posted by Anonymous on August 13, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Interesting note during the credits concerning the shows decision making…

    “Portions of this program not affecting the outcome have been edited or recreated. Decisions were made by the judges with INPUT from producers. Some deliberations occurred OFF-CAMERA.”

    So, there you have it – ever wonder why certain contestants can put up naff dishes and yet somehow manage to get through? Maybe its because they have the right character or ethnicity.


    • I’m not surprised – it is television after all. Even MasterChef Australia has to interview contestants away from the action, and then edits it to look like they’re commenting on the show as it happens. It’s clever editing, but as long as it keeps fairly true to what’s happening during the day’s events, I’m cool with it. When the editing creates false drama, I think it starts to lose some of the ‘reality’ of the show, and it begins to ring hollow. The tighter editing of the US version will have a much greater risk of doing that, since it’s packing so much action into so little broadcast time. The Australian version, which certainly tweaks events to make them fit into the daily segments, gets to show us far more of the day’s true events, just by nature of having six days a week to show it.

      That said, I’m not up for the conspiracy theories of candidates winning because they fit the right mould. I’ve sat in the room with fellow contestants to get on the show, and there was no doubt in my mind that the best cooks that day got on the show – I was a better cook than many of the others, but I stuffed up my dish in the end, plain and simple. The judging seemed fair. The only manipulative part was the constant pressure on the set (we never knew when we were going to be called up to cook) and the long hours, which made each of us far more stressed and emotional than we’d normally be, which, naturally, makes good TV.


  37. Posted by Ryo on August 13, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I just found her!!! – My moneys on ‘Avis’… aka. Julie mk II


  38. Posted by Ryo on August 13, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Great article… I have just caught up with the US version of the show after watching the Austrailian version (which may I add far surpassed any of the English versions) and the first thing that struck me was the complete and utter plagerism of the Australian version.

    Asside from the obvious similarities already mentioned in the article I found the fakest and most over the top copy of the Austrailian program to be the recreation of Poh’s audition. In the Australian program Poh almost gets booted after she ‘strays from her roots’ and comes up with a pretentious dish – which delivered on presentation but failed on taste. Its hard to miss the similarities between that and the lady on the US version who uses a crappy red-wine reduction and, shock, horror, fails to deliver a course which is true to her jamaican roots. Luckily, similar to Poh, she is given a redemptive chance and armed with her mother’s pantry manages to deliver an amazing dish which redeems her first attempt.

    Oh and lets not forget BIG Trev… I mean BIG Jake… The construction worker with the delicate touch.

    Asside from this I shall no doubt follow the series, attempt to ignore the scriptedness, and hopefully enjoy the show… Lets hope that it develops some origionality else my moneys on the homely housewife taking it – her names probably Julia or Ulie or something like that.


    • Yeah, there’s also the Mexican girl, who they make go back to her house to get ingredients to make a more authentic dish that stems from her roots. Didn’t even think about the construction worker connection between Big Trev and Jake, although Trev seems a bit more together than accident-prone Jake. And while some of the similarities may be mere coincidence, I agree that there are so many similarities to the Australian version, that it can seem a bit cookie-cutter at times, and a mere imitation. Hopefully the show develops like the US version of The Office, where it starts out mimicking the overseas version, but then finds its feet and comes up with its own original developments. Fingers crossed.


  39. looks like one of the judges has stolen Alvin’s white glasses 🙂 thanks for the links. i’m enjoying watching the youtube videos now!


  40. I seriously need to watch the US version, it sounds like a hoot. Great blog post.


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